Every SHM member signs up for different reasons. For some, it’s career development. For others, it’s discounts on industry-leading resources like SHM’s annual meeting or access to quality-improvement (QI) resources like SHM’s new SQUINT (see “SQUINT Is Looking Out for You,” July 2011, p. 6).
But a common theme emerges, even among a variety of hospitalists across the country: For hospitalists, SHM is home.
HM has grown and evolved at a breakneck pace over the past 15 years, going from a few hundred hospitalists in 1996 to an estimated 30,000-plus today. The growth of a previously undefined specialty, coupled with the very public tumult and change in healthcare delivery, has made thousands of hospitalists eager for a community to call their own.
“It’s important for hospitalists to know that there’s an organization that can help and support them,” says Gopal Sarker, MD, a Springfield, Mass. -based hospitalist and chief medical officer of Accountable Care Associates in Springfield. When Sarker first became an SHM member in 2003, he signed up for the added credibility that membership brought to his new career as a hospitalist.
—Kim Dickinson, chief operating officer of hospital medicine, HCA Physician Services, Nashville, Tenn.
His new membership, he says, implied increased recognition for his own career and the specialty. “At the time, there weren’t that many hospitalists around,” he says. “We knew we needed to get more organized and involved. That’s why I got involved.”
Not every member uses every product, service, and benefit SHM offers, but many hospitalists who integrate SHM’s offerings into their professional lives have forged new career paths, formed valuable relationships, and created their own sense of personal and professional reward.
“I joined because I was a newly minted hospitalist, having just joined the group at Hopkins,” says Lenny Feldman, MD, FACP, FAAP, SFHM, the Med-Peds Urban Health Residency program director at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. “I heard that this was our society, and I wanted to be involved with the society for hospital medicine. It seemed like it was a perfect fit. I had been to other meetings, and it seemed that SHM was destined to be my home organization.”
SHM: Moving Hospitalist Careers Up
In the early days, individual hospitalists largely were responsible for making the case for the specialty and their own careers. Today, SHM membership programs help hospitalists make their case getting hired and promoted, in addition to their individual commitment and accomplishments.
Even in a hiring environment in which hospitalists are in high demand, SHM membership and involvement can help a hospitalist’s resume rise to the top of the stack.
“We’re a growing hospitalist program and I’m always impressed when I see someone that’s an SHM member,” says Erik DeLue, MD, MBA, SFHM, who, as medical director of the hospitalist program at Virtua Memorial in Mount Holly, N.J., makes hiring and promotion decisions. “That tells me that they’re serious about being a hospitalist. Especially if they’re a resident, it tells me that this is someone that is really looking at this as a career. It’s almost a deficit if they’ve been doing hospital medicine and they’re not a member.”